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Monday 20 December 2021

Chapter 11


The Watch

    The Watch! In the Control Room a shift change-over was about to take place, as the officer of the Watch No.28, was completing his notes in time for the night shift.
   The pair of steel doors slid open and members of the nightshift entered the control room led by a female officer of the watch No.22, a middle aged woman with brunette hair, wearing an olive green polo neck jersey and back slacks. The change over was as smooth as ever. The day time staff gave up their seats in front of their monitors and were instantly replaced by night-time watchers. The steel see-saw device was stopped and the two watchers stepped off as their night-time counterparts took their places, and the see-saw was given a nudge and began revolving up and down as the two watchers on either end of the see-saw stared into their monitors. Plus operators took their places at the consuls of radar, and sonar.
    The two officers of the watch put their heads together as No.28 advised No.22 on anything of importance.
    “There is to be a delivery of provisions during the night by M. S. Polotska, estimated time of arrival two in the morning. Have a couple of Mini-Mokes standing by at the quayside. Other than that everything as normal. Oh yes, put up camera twenty-four.”
   The wall screen came to life and No.4 was seen sitting in a chair in the lounge of his cottage. Then getting up he drew back the blind and looked out into the night. “He’s been pacing the floor for the past ten minutes. He’s tried both doors twice, and the windows.”

    “What’s up with him? No.22 asked.
    “He’s restless because he didn’t drink his nightcap!” No.28 replied “We have tried to quieten him, and put him to sleep while he sat on the sofa, but he refused to listen to the sultry seductive voice.”
    “We shall keep a close eye on him” 22 confirmed.

    “Just couple of more things, we are still to be known as the watch, but individual watchers are now to be called Observers, and you and officers of the watch are now promoted to the position of Supervisor.”

    “Whose idea was that?” asked 22.
    “The order came down in part 2 orders, also the watchmen are now to be referred to as guardians. Right, its all yours, be seeing you in the morning.” No.28 said taking his leave of the Control Room.
    The pair of steel doors closed.
    The night-time Supervisor put the clipboard of notes down “Right its time we had a brew. Number 141 if you will do the honours and put the kettle on.”

   A Watcher  an Observer left his monitor and went to make the tea.



    The nightshift soon settled down to the regular routine in the control room. The nightshift was generally the quietest of times, nothing much happened at all. However tonight there was a delivery due, a delivery of tinned village food, crockery, pots and pans, and medical supplies.
    “Sonar keep a sharp lookout for M. S. Polotska, we’re due a delivery tonight” said the Supervisor.
    “Nothing on sonar as yet” came the report.
    “Radar clear” No.212 reported.
    The Supervisor gave the radar operator one of her looks “Why, is M. S. Polotska a flying boat?”
    “No Supervisor.”
    “Well then?”
    “Just a routine report ma’am.”
    “What about Number 4, lets have him on the screen” the Supervisor ordered.
    The wall screen came into life showing the lounge in ‘4 Private,’ No.4 was not to be seen.
    “Scan the cottage” the Supervisor ordered.
    “Camera 10, nothing.”
    “Camera 12 nothing.”
    “Camera 13 nothing” reported an Observer turning away from his monitor looking at the Supervisor “There’s no sign of Number 4 in his cottage.”
    The Supervisor, who had been following the cameras on the wall screen was shocked!
    “Look again” she ordered.
    The Observer scanned ‘4 Private’ a second time “Nothing Ma’am.”
    A two man security team was despatched into the night to report on the situation at the cottage. They found both the back door and the French door leading onto the small balcony locked and secured, also the windows.
   One of the security guards picked up the radio mike in the Mini-Moke “Security to control, security to control, situation at 4 Private normal, all locked and secure. No sign of a break out.”
    The Supervisor paced the floor “Where is he, where can be….hiding?.........No.4 hasn’t broken out, he’s in hiding, he’s joshing us!”
    Security was stood down, in the control room they waited, waited, and waited. It was a couple of hours later when it happened.
    “Supervisor, Number 4 is emerging from the wardrobe!” an Observer reported.
    The Supervisor picked up the receiver of the yellow telephone “Number 4 please.”
     In 4 private the telephone began to bleep he picked up the receiver and put it to his ear.


    “I trust you’re enjoying yourself” said the female voice.
    “Who is this? You’re not Number 2!”
    “He’s asleep

    “Well shouldn’t you wake him up and advise him of my current activity?”
    “I don’t think that will be necessary Number 4. Just go to bed” the voice told him.
    “I’m not a bit sleepy” he told the voice.
    “That’s because you didn’t drink your nightcap of hot chocolate. Do you want someone to make fresh hot chocolate for you?”
    “I shouldn’t drink it if they did!”
    “Well do try to sleep, you’ll only wake up in the morning all tired and grumpy.”

    “How can I wake up in the morning if I don’t go to sleep?”

    “Don’t get smart with me Number 4, you’ll only regret it.”
    “That sounds like a threat.”
    “It is” the Supervisor told him, and put the receiver down.

    The Control Room returned to normal operations, but a few minutes later……
    “Supervisor, sonar contact. There’s a small vessel heading towards the mouth of the estuary.”
    “That must be M S Polotska” said the Supervisor walking over to the sonar consul.
    “Speed of the vessel is fourteen knots” sonar reported.

    M S Polotska a motor ship powered by two twin 100 h.p. six cylinder diesel engines. Twin screw, 52 feet in length, although not fast, as an express cruiser, she is essentially of a fast displacement type. Her beam is 12 feet 6 inches, her modest draft 2 feet 9 inches helps towards high speeds. Her planking is of pitched pine, all trimmings are of teak, and decks are pine on English oak. She has all modern amenities, on the port side a fully equipped galley aft. Accommodation forward consists of a chain locker, crew’s cabin quarters complete with two cot berths. Starboard side is the pantry, with lead lined sink, and stowage space for provisions. The dining saloon, fitted with settees and boards is situated further aft. With further berths on the portside and starboard side, along with cupboards, after the saloon is the engine room. The deckhouse is constructed from teak, with sliding doors both port and starboard sides. Going aft is the head {toilet}. On the portside is the entrance to the engine room. Still further aft is a large deck with fuel tanks having the capacity of 300 gallons.
   The motor ship made her way to the quayside where a group of men dressed in overalls stood waiting. As M. S. Polotska drew alongside Ernst slowed the engines and as the vessel drew along the quay Gunter threw a mooring line, one man caught the line and secured the vessel to the quay. Then the unloading of a large number boxes 
and crates was carried out, and loaded into a trailers behind a Mini-


Mokes. This unloading and re-loading was carried out in quiet efficiency.
    “Ow! You damned fool, you dropped that box on my foot!”
    “Sorry mate, what’s in it?”
    The label read aspirins.
    “Quiet you two, and be about it” a voice ordered.
    “Quiet he says, all the old folk will be sound asleep. We could make enough noise to wake the dead, and still not disturb the slumbering old people!”
    And yet nevertheless, there was a face at the window quietly watching the men in the dark down on the quayside, but concentrating on the boat moored to the quay.

    “Supervisor, the vessel has been unloaded” an Observer reported.
    “Good” said the Supervisor picking up the receiver of the grey telephone “control room to Polotska, control room to Polotska……resume normal operations, patrolling offshore.”
   The mooring line and cast off, and with Ernst at the wheel M. S. Polotska moved slowly off into mid estuary, turned and headed out towards the sea with the face at the window watching the navigation lights of the boat for as long as he could. 

    “Will there be a cup of tea on its way to help clear my eyesight?” asked one Observer.
    “In a bit” said the Supervisor “keep a sharp look out.”
    The Observer turned to the Observer to his right “Keep a sharp look out, for what? No-one’s out there to watch, everyone is tucked up in bed!”

    “Yeah, everyone but us” the man said turning from his screen.
    “What are you two talking about?”
    “Nothing ma’am” one said and they returned to their monitors.
    “Good, keep it that way.”

    The night shift settled down once more. There was nothing on the

radar screen, and sonar reported that nothing was coming through. Observers kept a night watch, but nothing moved in the darkness, and yet the village administration does not operate a total blackout. A few lights are left switched on in order to illuminate roads and paths, for safety more than aesthetic reasons. But all the lights in buildings and cottages were switched off, well all but one.
    “Supervisor, the lights of 4 Private are still switched on” an Observer reported.
   “I thought we switched those off?”
   “We did ma’am” was the response of the Observer.
   “How did that happen? Can’t you switch the lights off?”
   “No ma’am, it seems No.4 has somehow managed to by-pass the

electrical circuits!”


    “Put up camera 12 sound and vision” the Supervisor ordered.
   The wall screen came to life and there were the illuminated rooms of ‘4 Private,’ and No.4 stretched out on the sofa listening to an LP record, Purcell’s Sacred Music.
    The telephone in ‘4 Private’ began to bleep he was annoyed at the interruption as he was feeling quite comfortable. However he climbed off the sofa and picked up the receiver of the telephone.

    “I expect you think this is funny!” a female voice said.
    “No, it’s not a bit funny when you can’t sleep!” he said.
    “How did you do it?”
    “Do what?”
    “By-pass the electric circuits?”
    “Oh, that was a mistake” he said.
    “A mistake?”
    “I was attempting to by-pass the electronic lock on the door, and thereby ease my escape into the night. However it’s not a complete failure, my house is acting like a beacon shining out in the night.”
    “And you think it will attract someone’s attention?”
    “It might, and you don’t know until you try” he said with a broad grin on his face.
    “Who do you think it will attract?”
    “I don’t know.”
    “Name me three people it will attract?”
    “Someone in an aeroplane, a ship perhaps, a poacher maybe!”
    “There are no aeroplanes in the sky, no ships at sea, and most definitely no poachers operating in the woods” the voice told him.
    Suddenly the door of ‘4 Private’ opened and a stout man in yellow overalls carrying a tool box, entered the cottage.
    “Who are you?” No.4 asked.
    “Electrics” said 211 announcing himself.
    “He’s there to put your lights out” the voice on the telephone told him.
    “Just a minute, who the hell are you?”
    Two men in grey overalls, white helmets and gloves stood in the doorway.
   “That will be security” the voice on the telephone said “they are there to punch your lights out if you resist!"
    The Supervisor put the receiver down muttering “It had to be him” under her breath “Let’s have another brew, do the honours Number 98.”

   And so the nightshift settled down once more to its usual routine.

    The Supervisor stopped the see-saw device from rotating round and round, up and down, and sat down on the dais sipping her tea, then picking up the clipboard and pencil turned her mind to writing up her notes for the shift report so far. Noting incidents, details of incidents, and times when incidents took place. She looked at her watch, half past two."


    “Supervisor, the lights of ‘4 Private’ have gone out” an Observer reported.
    “At last!” she said, and made a note in her report.
    The Observer sat at her monitor watching the lights of the electrics truck weave its way through the darkness of the village, making its way back to Electrics Control, when suddenly the lights came to a stop. The electrician got off his Massey Ferguson garden tractor, then taking his large torch from the trailer he shone it at a corner light set at the foot of a wall which wasn’t working. He took a radio headset from the trailer.
    “Calling Electrics Control……..reporting a broken light at the top of the steps leading down to the Piazza, I’m affecting a repair.”
    From the trailer he took a screwdriver and new light bulb. He unscrewed one screw and opened the glass cover; he was just about to replace the old bulb when he heard a rustle in the bushes on the opposite side of the road. He shone his torch onto the bushes, and the steps leading up to the pink and white Georgian house, then back over the bushes. The pair of turquoise gates stood open, but other than that he didn’t see anything, it must have been an animal rustling about, and he returned to replace the light bulb.
   The Observer alerted the Supervisor to the occurrence of the shining light. Telling her that the Electrician, on his way back to Electrics Control, stopped to change a light bulb, when he began shining his torch about.
   “It seems he heard something in the bushes opposite” the Observer reported.
    “Let’s have it on the screen, camera 18 infra red” the Supervisor ordered.
   On the wall screen the electrician appeared in the bright colours of red, blue, yellow, and green as did surrounding area.
   “Change to night vision.”
   The attitude of the wall screen changed to a clear green, the electrics truck in plain vision as it carried on its way through the village.
   “Scan the immediate area of the Georgian house” the Supervisor ordered.

    On the wall screen something was seen to move in the bushes, then two shadowy figures were seen walking along the road.
    “Who are they?” an Observer asked.
    “Security” said the Supervisor.
    “What are they doing?”
    “Supervisor, Number 4 has got passed security, and escaped his cottage” an Observer reported.
    “So they’re looking for an escaped Prisoner the fools! Never mind, it will test our efficiency………Orange alert.”
    Somewhere on the seabed a segment of the village Guardian was released from the containment area, and floated to the surface


Skimming across the waves in the dark the white amorphous mass of the Guardian made its way to the village. Up the slipway across the lawn, floating up high over the waterfall and up the steps, the pink pavilion on the right, and Hercules in front of it. Then across the lawn and onto the Piazza where a figure moved passed the fountain in the darkness. The two security guards stood in an archway at the top of the steps which lead down to the Piazza. They saw the white of the Guardian in the darkness, then the shadowy figure stop, then make a dash a sudden for it. But the Guardian was on the figure in an instant, knocking the person to the ground before subduing it. The figure tried laying into the thing with his fists, but the Guardian offered no resistance. He clawed at the white membrane as it covered his face suffocating the figure into unconsciousness. As the Guardian moved away, the two security guards moved in, and carried the unconscious figure of No.4 back to his cottage.
   The rest of the nightshift was uneventful, and during those hours time dragged by. However this allowed plenty of time for the Supervisor to write up her log, in which she recommended action taken against No.4 for attempting to escape, and for the two security guards 106 and 137 to be heavily reprimanded for dereliction of duty in allowing a prisoner to escape in the first place!

    The morning brought about another shift changeover. The pair of steel doors opened and the daytime Observers were led into the control room by the Supervisor No.28 who relived the night time Supervisor, as the day watch took over from the night watch.
    “Have a quiet night?” No.28 asked
    “M S Polotska arrived, the cargo unloaded I sent her crew on routine night patrol.”
    “Good” 28 said reading through No.22’s log “I see Number 4 gave you some trouble.”
    “He started off by playing hide and seek with the Observers” 22 said.
    No.28 smiled quietly to himself.
    “Then there was his act of deliberate sabotage of official property, and attempting to escape” 22 added.
    “He cannot be allowed to get away with it. I had to call out electrics to put it right.”
    The Supervisor took off his spectacles “These work you know” and returned to reading the reports in the log.
    “I see you recommend the two security guards to be heavily reprimanded.”
    “If it wasn’t for those two fools Number 4 would never have escaped his cottage in the first place!”
    The Supervisor smiled “Well leave it with me, I’ll see that your report is passed onto Number 2.”


   “Good. Be seeing you tonight” 22 said leaving the control room for her quarters.
   The Supervisor was a most capable man, his ability was unquestionable. No.2 may be the Chief administrator for the village, but the control room is the Supervisor’s domain where his word is law. The Observers watched the village wake up and slowly come to life, via their monitors. The waitress opening the café as a gardener hosed down the patio. Another gardener was driving an orange Nuffield garden tractor down a cobbled path heading towards the lawn to cut the grass. The flower seller wheeling her barrow along the street, as No.126 was setting up the kiosk, as the general store was opened for business. A painter in dove grey overalls was busy preparing a paint brush before he returned to painting the wall he started on the day before. And the milkman on his round, and eventually citizens began emerging from their cottages all going about their daily business.
   And so the day shift began.
    “Keep a sharp watch” the Supervisor told his Observers, as he was joined by his assistant No.60.
    Not that No.28 required an assistant; he felt No.60 had been foisted upon him. But at least it left someone in command of the control room when he was called away to see No.2 in his office of the Green Dome.
   The yellow telephone began to bleep, the Supervisor picked up the receiver “Yes Number 2, at once.”

   Usually when called to see No.2 in his office the Supervisor would take the more direct route via the underground passageways. However seeing the sun shining and hearing the Brass Band performing their regular concert via the wall screen, he decided to take the more scenic route via the Town Hall, and through the village. After all he was a citizen like any other, and why shouldn’t he enjoy the village from time to time. However he did not linger at the Brass Band concert, as No.2 did not like to be kept waiting for too long.

   The pair of steel doors opened and the Supervisor walked smartly down the ramp and approached the desk. No.2 sat in his black spherical chair behind that desk.
    “I’ve been marking your progress Number 28.”
    “Thank you sir, I always strive to give of my best in running the control room efficiently” the Supervisor said with pride.
    “I’m not talking about your ability to run the control room, I mean the time it took you to get here.”
    “I’m sorry?”
    “You are usually punctual when I call, but this morning you took yourself off on a walk through the village before arriving at the Green Dome, that’s not like you at all. How do you explain yourself?”
    “Well…..well I saw what a beautiful morning it is, and thought the

walk through the village would do me an awful lot of good” the Supervisor explained.



    “That’s not like you at all; you’re usually cold and calculating with a ruthless efficiency not to bother yourself by it being a beautiful morning.”
    “Why did you want to see me Number 2?”
    “Yes, I was reading the report from the night watch, and see that Number 4 caused quite a commotion.”
    “Yes Number 2, he didn’t drink his nightcap, and consequently he was restless, kept trying the doors and windows, then at one point he hid himself in the wardrobe.”
    “Why did he do that do you think?”
    “He was jamming I suppose.”

    “Trying to fool the Observers into thinking he had managed to get out of his cottage.”
    “Which he eventually did.”
    “Yes sir” the Supervisor replied nervously.
    “Oh don’t worry, that’s no reflection on you. The two fools of security guards will be reprimanded, they should never have let a prisoner get passed them.”
    “What about Number 4? He did sabotage official property.”
    “Yes, that was rather ingenious of him, especially when he was working in the dark.”
    “I expect he lit a candle” the Supervisor offered.
    No.2 looked at No.28 quizzically from the comfort of his chair “Yes, yes I expect he did. Keep a special watch on our friend Number 4, he could have a future with us.”
    “He’ll take some persuading of that” the Supervisor said sarcastically.
    “The man is in danger of discovering our secrets. Look at that time he managed to get into the Town Hall and none of the watch, including you, saw him do it!”
    “There was a broken latch on the toilet window at the back of the Town Hall sir.”

    “Which only goes to demonstrate how thorough Number 4 is to have discovered that!”
    “Perhaps you should promote Number 4 to head of security!”
    “To sort out your inefficiencies, that’s a good idea. I thought the watch was supposed to see and hear everything?”
    “Observers as they are now called, and that is a misconception Number 2. How 7 Observers are supposed to see and hear everything that takes place in the village is beyond me!”
    “Excuses….from you, a man of your ability? Go back to your control room, and keep a special watch on No.4. I want to know what he does before he does it!”
    “Yes Number 2.”


    The Supervisor passed through the open steel doors as No.14, No.2’s new assistant, entered the office.
   “Ah 14 there you are. Tell me, is it possible to predict what No.4 might do on any given day?”
    No.14 thought for a moment “You mean a daily activity prognosis sort of thing.”
    “What’s that when it’s at home?”
    “A daily prognosis report” No.14 began “basically you need to programme everything you know about a subject’s daily activities into the computer, which then computes all that information using quantum physics, and eventually arrives at a prognosis of what the subject is likely to do on any given day.”
    “In other words, the computer’s prognosis report will tell us what we already know, or what any Observer could tell us!”
    “If you want to put it that way….yes.”

    Having returned to the control room the Supervior-No.28 ordered the watch to keep a special lookout on No.4, who at that precise moment was taking a quiet stroll through the village. Not in any particular direction, not talking to anyone in particular.
    “Hello” said a voice behind him.
    No.4 turned to see a man making notes in a black notebook.
    “Do you stroll through the village everyday?” the man asked.
    “Yes” No.4 replied “it’s unavoidable if you want to go anywhere.”
    The man smiled “I walk through the village at least twice day. I’m trying to set a village record.”
    “A village record, what for?”
    “I’m trying to work out how may different routes you can take to stroll around the village, without taking the same way twice” the man explained.
    “And you note the routes down in your notebook?”
    “What’s Number 4 doing now?” asked the Supervisor.
    An Observer turned from his monitor “He’s talking to the eccentric Number 111, who is now showing Number 4 his black notebook.”
    “Isn’t that the chap who’s trying to walk around the village using as many different routes as possible?” No.20 asked.
    “Yes, he’s been at it for weeks. So far he’s not taken the same route twice!
    No.4 looked at the man’s open notebook, the words read;

I have put

the Observers

to sleep.

Later today I shall
simply walk out of

this place and shake

 it’s dust from my feet.


   “Are you sure about this? If they catch you……”

    “Don’t do that!” 111 said glancing about him.
    “Don’t do what?”
    “Show concern, it will attract the attention of the watchmen and of the watch” the man closed the notebook and went on his way.
    “Did you see that notebook?” the Supervisor asked an Observer.
    “Yes, a black notebook” replied the Observer.
    “Could you read what was in it?”
    “No sir, it was obscured from the camera” the Observer reported.
    “Very well, maintain a close watch on No.4 “meanwhile I think we’re all more than ready…….Number 60 put the kettle on.”
    The day carried on, the sun was shining, the ice cream flavour of the day being raspberry, and citizens were enjoying themselves on the beach.
    “Supervisor I cannot find Number 111!” an Observer suddenly reported.
    “What do you mean you can’t find him, he must be there somewhere, there’s no other place he can be. You’ll find him.”
    “I was tracking him through the village on another of his walks, then suddenly he changed direction, I had to switch cameras and I lost him.”
    “Well find him again” was the Supervisor’s order.
    No.111 had bided his time, having completed a couple of circuits of the village by two varying routes. Then he did something completely  out of character, he was on his way to the Bandstand along a narrow stone path, when he stopped, turned, and took a straight line down a sloping lawn, stumbling through Rhododendrons bushes set between palm trees, crossing the Piazza, and wading through the free sea as he went. Then across a lawn turning a sharp right, up steps, then left making for a path up into the woods. His sudden deviation had thrown the Observer, and by the time he had been picked up by one of the cameras it would be too late, he hoped.
    “Scan the village for 111” the Supervisor ordered “where’s Number 4?”
    “He bought a copy of The Tally Ho at the kiosk a few moments ago, he went to the café, ordered a cup of coffee, and he’s been sat there reading the broadsheet for the last ten minutes” said an Observer glancing away from his screen for a second.
    “Any sign of Number 111?”
    “No sign yet sir” said No.60
    “I’ve located him sir” said an Observer “on a track in the woods.”
    “Let’s have him on the big screen” the Supervisor ordered “where do you think he’s going?”
    “He could be heading for either the cliffs, or the mangrove walk perhaps” No.60 said watching the screen.

    “If he is he’s certainly taking the long way round” the Supervisor said picking up the receiver of the yellow telephone “Yellow alert all


posts, all units, yellow alert.”
    Within minutes a white open topped Mini-Moke was speeding through the village its high-pitched squeaky siren blaring out warning pedestrians and cyclists of its approach. A big man with a full beard in a red and black striped jersey was behind the wheel. In the passenger seat a thinner man wearing a beige Lennon style cap, and light blue jersey

    “We have to go into the woods, are you sure we won’t get bogged down?” ask the guardian in the passengers seat.
    “This is an all terrain vehicle, of course we won’t get bogged down” said the driver as he steered the Mini-Moke along a wide track leading into the woods.
   The ground was still wet from the night’s rain, droplets of rain water still dripped from the leaves and branches of trees. The back end of the Moke swerved left then right as the rear wheels failed at times to get a grip on the wet soil. The driver thinking that speed would get them through, but the ground became softer as the Moke was driven deeper into the woods. And then the wheels lost grip altogether slowing the vehicle until it was up to its axles in mud. No.265 revved the engine, pressing down hard on the accelerator in second gear. The wheels spun throwing up mud all over the place.
   “Try to back our way out” No.167 suggested.
   The driver looked at the passenger and engaged reverse gear, but it was no good the Mini-Moke was completely bogged down!
   “All terrain vehicle” 167 said stepping out of the Moke “now it Shank’s pony for us!”
   “Stop moaning, and come on we’ve still got an escaping prisoner to catch!”
    No.111 finally having reached the far side of the woods, crouched down and stared at the low dry stone wall a few feet ahead of him. On his way through the woods he collected the haversack he had managed to hide the day before. He poured a cup of water from the flask, and ate a piece of bread and cheese. A few moments later he emerged from the tree line and approached the wall, over which was a wide expanse of open ground, and beyond were the hills and mountains. He climbed over the wall and began to cross the open ground.
   In the control room the yellow telephone began to bleep, the Supervisor picked up the receiver “Supervisor, Post 7 reports a figure emerged from the far side of the woods and now making its way towards the hills across open ground.”
    “Notify security.”
    “The two guardians are not in radio communication” No.60 reported “surveillance shows they had to abandon the Mini-Moke and are now in pursuit on foot. If they go much further they will be out of range of our cameras.”
    “Orange alert!”


    The Guardian, already on a patrol of the village, was quickly diverted into the woods. Meanwhile Post 7 was keeping the figure crossing the open ground under surveillance through his binoculars. Then over the wall came the white amorphous sphere of the Guardian rolling and bounding across the field emitting its blood curdling roar, which instantly made the fleeing figure of 111 look over his shoulder. He instantly dropped the bag he was carrying and ran for his life. But then he stumbled and fell to the ground, and the Guardian was on him in a moment. The man screamed and screamed as he clawed at the membrane that was covering his face, cutting off the oxygen suffocating its victim into unconsciousness or to death. But more than this, the white amorphous sphere began to smother its victim until it engulfed than man’s whole body. To his surprise 111 found he was not dead, in a strange kind of way he felt it must be like being back in the womb, he found he could breath, and it was warm, its funny but he felt a kind of comfort, he felt safe. That was until a mixture of digestive acids began breaking his body and he screamed, oh how he screamed, his blood giving the white membrane a pinkish hue. Before long all that remained of No.111 were regurgitated blood soaked rags lying on the ground.
   Eventually the two guardians emerged from the wood, clamboured over the wall in time only to witness the pink looking sphere moving away. They crossed the field but of the escaping prisoner there was no sign. They looked towards the far off pinkish sphere, even though it was a warm day a chill ran down their spines. Two medics also arrived on the scene carrying a stretcher, but they too were too late to be of any help to No.111. The rags of clothing were laid on the stretcher and the two medics carried them back to the ambulance, then on to the hospital for forensic analysis.

   As for the two guardians it was a long trudge back to the village to pick up two spades and planks of wood from the maintenance building. It was an even longer trudge back to dig out Mini-Moke! While in the control room the supervisor picked up the telephone in order to make his report to No.2, and routine operations were restored for the rest of the day. The only other exiting event was the imminent arrival of the Alouette helicopter, which was reported to No.2 as a matter of routine. An ambulance had been despatched as the helicopter landed on the lawn by the sea wall. It had brought a new arrival to the village, a woman in her early 30’s with dark hair. The unconscious woman was carefully carried from the helicopter by two medical orderlies, placed on a stretcher, carried over to the ambulance, and placed in the Red Cross trailer, then driven up the hill into the village and taken to her cottage where she would eventually wake up disorientated and confused!

    The pair of steel doors slid open and members of the nightshift of the watch entered the control room led by the female Supervisor-


No.22. The change over was a smooth as ever. The day time Observers gave up their seats in front of their monitors and were instantly replaced by night-time counterparts. The steel see-saw device was stopped and the two watchers stepped off, as two of the night-time watch replaced them, and the see-saw was given a nudge and began revolving up and down as the two Observers on either end of the see-saw stared into their monitors. Plus operators took their place at the consuls of radar, and sonar. While the two Supervisors put their heads together, No.28 advising her of the day’s activities, and hoped she and the watch would enjoy a quite night………


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